INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Alioune Diakhate came to the United States looking to play professional soccer.
“Before (I came), I think it will be easy for me,” said Diakhate, whose first language is French, “but after I arrive, things I expecting was different. I have a lot of contact, but they don’t have contact here to help me.”
The Senegal native found out about a tryout for the Indy Eleven in January of this year, so he paid his way to the Circle City, hoping to make an impression on the coaching staff.
“I was practicing by myself,” remembered Diakhate. “Waiting, I was a little nervous, but every day, if I go out and practice, I forget everything. I feel comfortable, happy.”
That comfort translated to success, as the forward eventually turned that tryout into a spot on the Eleven’s roster.
“You’re never sure what you’re gonna get,” says Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie about open tryouts. “You hope one or a few players do well. Alioune stood out because of his physical and technical ability.”
Soccer in America was new to Diakhate, for sure, but he grew up playing the sport.
“I played in a lot of countries,” he explains. “I played in my country, junior and senior in Senegal, professional second division.
“Working by myself is very difficult, but every day, I think I have work to do. Concentrate and focus to get my chance here in United States.”
Diakhate has taken advantage of his chance with the Indy Eleven, appearing in 11 matches this season, including starts in the past two.
“I think in the last few weeks we’ve seen a big improvement (from him),” says Rennie. “It’s nice to see that, but i think there’s a lot more to come from him. He has great potential, and he just has to keep improving.”
“I just say (to myself), ‘I come so far’,” explains Diakhate. “‘I do what I know: My job.’ I try to make it, concentrate, and show the best I am.”